[email protected]!!How to watch the Saints’ game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional playoffs.Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have gotten the better of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on two occasions during the regular season. But Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff matchup is the biggest of the year for both teams.Tampa Bay won 31-23 over Washington last weekend, while New Orleans toppled Chicago 21-9. Here’s how you can watch Sunday’s game. The winner hosts the NFC Championship Game if the Packers lose to the Los Angeles Rams.
All four of this weekend’s Divisional Round playoff games are highly anticipated, but none figures to be quite as dramatic as tonight’s prime-time game between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It helps, of course, that the NFC South rivals have already met twice in the 2020 season. But then you’ve got the ageless quarterback dynamic — a 43-year-old Tom Brady vying to keep intact hopes of a seventh Super Bowl win, and a 42-year-old Drew Brees potentially playing the last game of his NFL career. It all adds up to a killer close to the weekend.
Can Brady finally beat the Saints after falling badly to New Orleans earlier this year? Can Brees out-duel Bruce Arians’ explosive offense in the Superdome to keep his own title hopes alive? We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, if you’re wondering how to tune in, or which matchups could decide Sunday’s showdown, we’ve got you covered with info below:
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 17 | Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, Louisiana)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
When the Saints have the ball
New Orleans has run it up on the Bucs before, but they can’t assume Todd Bowles’ unit will roll over in this situation. Tampa Bay boasted the No. 1-ranked rush defense coming into the playoffs, and it allowed just 86 yards to Washington in the wild-card round. That means one of the first priorities for the Saints needs to be offsetting a potentially dormant ground game with a dominant screen game, otherwise known as keeping the ball in Alvin Kamara’s hands.
Drew Brees should be able to pick his spots against a Bucs secondary that’s actually been quite vulnerable (No. 21 against the pass), but in the event Tampa Bay’s pass rush actually shows up, he’s not going to offer the kind of off-script play-making that Taylor Heinicke surprisingly showcased for Washington. Instead, he should be content to play point guard, as he often does, opting for efficient, short-area targets to his weapons. That not only balances out a game plan that could struggle to establish the run but keeps Tom Brady and Co. on the sidelines. If this one turns into a shootout, the Saints have to be comfortable playing their patient style of offense.
Why Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Win
Have the Buccaneers been able to figure out the problem?
It’s a cliché, but it’s sort of real – it’s hard to beat a team three times, especially if they’re both good.
Tampa Bay had a few down moments here and there, but the losses to the Bears, Rams and Chiefs were all close – all by a combined seven points – but it got drilled in the two losses to the Saints.
What can be fixed? It started with pass protection.
Tom Brady was knocked around too much in the first two games. That lead to nothing happening on enough third downs to matter, Brady threw five interceptions, and the defense wasn’t able to pick up the slack.
A few big Taylor Heinicke dashes aside, the Tampa Bay run defense that leads the NFL has been able to lock down. The Bucs allowed over 100 rushing yards just four times – once was against the Saints – and they should be able to get enough from the front to not only contain Alvin Kamara, but also generate a little bit of pressure.
New Orleans has put up some nice numbers offensively over the second half of the season, but it helped to face a whole slew of mediocre defenses. The Saints only generated 285 yards against Kansas City and
– Why New Orleans Saints Will Win
– What’s Going To Happen, Who’ll Win
NEXT: Why New Orleans Saints Will Win
Why New Orleans Saints Will Win
There’s a reason why the Saints were able to handle the Buccaneer offense twice.
The defensive front was able to get to Tom Brady, but that’s not enough. Brady has made a living off of being able to find his third and four reads faster than just about any quarterback ever, but that hasn’t been there in the first two games. Brady was hit 16 times in the two games – he hasn’t had enough time to let the deep plays happen.
Get Brady off the field, don’t turn the ball over, and control the clock.
New Orleans had the ball for almost three more minutes than the Buccaneers in the opener, and it had it for a whopping 40+ minutes in the 38-3 whacking back in early November. Now Drew Brees has all of his parts back, Michael Thomas is a part of the equation again, and he’s getting time to throw.
Chicago got just one sack last week, and that was when Taysom Hill was at quarterback. Brees didn’t come up with two many deep throws, but he didn’t need to.
He got the ball out of his hand in a hurry, he spread it around with with three different Saints getting targeted seven times and ten players catching at least one pass, and the team had the ball for 39 minutes with good drive after good drive and the D getting off the field fast.
The same formula should work against Tampa Bay. Again.
– What’s Going To Happen, Who’ll Win
NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going To Win The NFC Divisional Playoff
What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going To Win The NFC Divisional Playoff
Tampa Bay will get off to a great start with two scoring drives, a lot of fist-pumping, and the thought that this will be different than the first two clunker losses to the Saints.
And then the game will settle in.
New Orleans will be methodical offensively, and the defensive side will start to look like it’s supposed to as the game goes on. The Buccaneer offense will be far, far better, but it’ll bog down just enough on two key third quarter drives to allow the Saints to finally take over.
Alvin Kamara and the running game will start to work midway through the fourth, the defense will come up with a takeaway leading to another score, and the Saints will pull off the threezie to earn a trip to Green Bay.
– CFN Experts Picks: NFL Playoffs Divisional
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints Prediction, Line
New Orleans 27, Tampa Bay 20
Bet on NFL Playoffs with BetMGM
New Orleans -3, o/u: 52
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2.5
Must See Rating: 5
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